Harlan (Keith Szarabajka) is a septuagenarian janitor who gets zapped by a mysterious explosion at a top secret government installation. His eyes and ears start glowing green and before you know it, he begins to gradually get younger. A hitman (R.D. Call) from the government agency “The Shop” wants to erase Harlan and his doting wife (Frances Sternhagen) but a rival agent (Felicity Huffman) breaks protocol and helps them escape.
This weak ass Stephen King mini-series is kinda like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Meets The Fugitive. That’s kind of a half-assed description I know. Then again, everything about Golden Years seems half-assed now that I think about it, so fair is fair.
On top of that, the lethargic pacing will put you to sleep in no time flat. The dialogue scenes were stretched out to infinity to get this sucker to fit in an 8 hour time slot (6 minus the commercials.) At one point a phone conversation is more or less repeated (albeit in different locations) within two consecutive scenes just to keep the clock ticking. Let’s face it folks, there was barely enough story here for 80 minutes, let alone 8 hours. That’s a third of my day down the tubes.
The mind-numbing length was a bit much for me to handle but I’m a die hard King fan so I pretty much forced myself to get all the way through Golden Years. It’s more Science-Fictiony than most of King’s work, although the Sci-Fi elements are really left unexplored. What’s worse is that there’s not one single thing scary about this junk. Unless you consider such horrific sights as two old people showering together, fornicating, and singing annoying songs on long car trips “scary”. At least you get to hear David Bowie’s great song “Golden Years” a bunch of times, so that’s a plus.
Szarabajka (good luck with THAT Spell Check) is OK but he’s just really not a leading man. He doesn’t have what it takes to carry such a long ass mini-series. Sternhagen fares better as his caring wife who stands by her man as he gets youth-anized. As the villains, Bill Raymond is pathetically over the top as Dr. Toddhunter, the mad scientist who invented the youth restoring doohickey thingamabob and Call is just way too dull to make a convincing heel.
King created Golden Years so I guess he should take most of the blame for this sorry excuse for a mini-series. He also has a cameo as bus driver, which is sorta funny. His dialogue is pretty weak in this, but he did type up one memorable line: “It’s just a bit of manmade freakishness… that’s all.”